by JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
Logan Elm broke open a tight game early in the fourth quarter to beat host Circleville 48-39 Tuesday.
“We knew in the fourth everybody on the court was tired, so we had to come out and push harder and make sure they weren’t outworking us,” Logan Elm’s Braylen Baker said. “After we started getting on that 9-1 run, we were just playing team basketball and making sure we weren’t throwing up shots we shouldn’t.”
“That was a huge spurt for us and it started with our defense,” LE coach Doug Stiverson said. “I thought Drew Tomlinson was all over the place, getting his hands on deflections, getting steals and getting on the floor. I thought he was really the one who ignited us the whole second half and the start of that fourth quarter as well.”
Circleville had led 30-29 with three minutes to go in the third period when Baker sunk a three and then Tanner Holbert converted one of two free throw attempts.
Circleville’s Briley Cramer capped a nine-point third quarter with a basket to tighten the gap to 33-32 before Baker closed the quarter’s scoring with a pair of free throws and his team up 35-32.
In the fourth quarter, the first two baskets belonged to the Braves as Garret Summers and Holbert both scored from offensive rebounds.
Following a free throw from Circleville’s Ian Warden, the Braves added a three-pointer from Holbert and Baker converted a steal into a basket to put LE up 44-33.
The Tigers were able to get the difference back to six points with less than four minutes on the clock, but the Braves answered quickly and Circleville added only one more point down the stretch.
“We got it up to (11) and they cut it to six,” Stiverson said. “It was great to come out of that timeout and get a basket from Drew Tomlinson. He did it at both ends, made some clutch plays there for us in the fourth quarter.”
Logan Elm forced five turnovers in the fourth quarter and 18 for the night, while committing just five.
“It was good game for three quarters and then in that fourth quarter we had a couple turnovers that led to transition buckets,” Circleville coach Cody Carpenter said. “That’s the thing about Logan Elm — they’re very disciplined, they’re smart basketball players and when we have mental errors, they make you pay for it. In a game like that where every possession is so important, we just can’t afford to make those plays.
“We did that a few times in the first half but we battled back. We have the ability to make those plays but I think we were just mentally and physically gassed and they did what they were supposed to do and we just couldn’t recover.”
Circleville had an 11-8 lead after the first quarter, but Logan Elm had a 17-point second quarter to lead 25-21 at halftime.
Baker had seven points in that second quarter as he got going on a 21-point night.
The big night for Baker came after the third-year varsity player had gone through a few nights of single-digit scoring.
“I was struggling a little bit and went in kind of a slump,” he said. “I got in the gym every day and worked a little bit harder, just worked on the basic things and it came out today.”
“It was great to see that from Braylen,” Stiverson said. “He hit some big baskets for us tonight. Defensively, he was a huge presence. He played an outstanding game for us at both ends of the floor.”
With teams focusing on stopping Holbert, who’s averaging 21 points a game, it leaves opportunities for other LE players.
“Baker stated getting to the rim, being more aggressive offensively and we struggled to guard him. That was kind of the big turnaround,” Carpenter said. “I think every team, including us, was putting a lot of focus on Holbert, and rightfully so. I think because of that, it kind of put us out of position rotation-wise coming off so many screens and Baker did his job. We just didn’t rotate and I think hat’s what got them going.”
Holbert ended the night with 16 points.
Cramer was Circleville’s leading scorer with 14 points and Craig Fleck had 12.
“Luckily in the third quarter, Briley Cramer gave us a big lift. That kept us alive,” Carpenter said. “We just couldn’t finish in the fourth quarter.”
The Circleville/Logan Elm rivalry made for a loud gym Tuesday as both schools’ fans turned out.
“These kids know each other so well and it’s a fun atmosphere. These are the games you remember after high school,” Stiverson said. “It was a great atmosphere tonight and I thought our fans came out and supported us tremendously well. It was just a good night of basketball.”
Both team continue league play Saturday.
Carpenter will be taking his Tigers (4-13, 2-8) to Amanda-Clearcreek (6-10, 2-8) for a 7:30 start.
“Our effort is there. I could not say enough about our effort defensively,” Carpenter said. “I think we’re only giving up maybe 45, 46 points a game which I think in high school basketball is really good. We’re just struggling to score.
“I feel like we’re continuing to improve, we have to find ways to win.”
Logan Elm (11-4, 7-3) will be hosting Liberty Union (6-9, 6-4) with varsity action starting around 2:30.
Logan Elm 48, Circleville 39
Logan Elm — Drew Tomlinson 1-0-2, Konner Starkey 3-1-7, Braylen Baker 7-5-21, Garret Summers 1-0-2, Tanner Holbert 5-3-16. Three-point goals — Baker (2), Holbert (3). Total — 17-9-48.
Circleville — Matt Bradley 1-2-4, Briley Cramer 5-2-14, Parker Kidwell 1-0-2, Ian Warden 3-1-7, Craig Fleck 4-1-12. Three-point goals — Cramer (2), Fleck (3). Total — 14-6-39.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Logan Elm 8 17 10 13 48
Circleville 11 10 11 7 39